chapter  10
12 Pages

The effect of adult presence on communicative behaviour among toddlers

ByBiran Mertan, Jacqueline Nadel, Helene Leveau

Constructivists and interactionists, working from different theoretical bases, have had a convergent influence in that they stress the importance of asymmetry between partners in the acquisition of knowhows and place major emphasis on the prime role played by adults in the young child's active exploration. In most experiments on peer interactions, an adult is present. Although adult presence is no longer a necessity, this does not mean it has no effect, in particular on peer interactions. The adult is assumed not to be a social context in which peer interactions take place. The measures of social behaviour selected with regard to their reliability and representativeness in this pre-linguistic period were: imitation, physical proximity, positive emotional exchange, verbal and vocal exchanges. The use of synchronic imitation, proximity, laughs and verbal exchanges were examined as significant parameters of young children's communicative patterns that the presence of an adult could contribute to organize, disorganize or inhibit.